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New book: “The politics of empire. The US, Israel and the Middle East”

By James Petras | Clarity Press

This book provides a unique conception of US empire building, linking overseas expansion with:

– the growth of a police state and declining living standards;

– advanced technologically driven global spying on adversaries and allies with declining economic competitiveness and military defeats;

– large scale, long term commitments of economic and military resources to wars in the Middle East to the detriment of major corporate interests, but for the benefit of a pariah state, Israel; and

– the power of a foreign state (Israel) over US policy via its domestic pro-Zionist power configuration The interplay of these four specific features of US empire building has no past or present precedent among imperial states.

Because of Israeli-Zionist influence on US imperial policy, the main targets and objectives of imperial wars are located in the Middle East. The objectives of Israeli and Zionist- influenced US policy in the Middle East is to enhance Israeli regional power and the dispossession of the Palestinian people. The trillion dollar cost of US wars for Israel, however, has alienated the vast majority of US society and driven a wedge between the political elite backing new wars for Israel, and the public prioritizing of domestic economic welfare. This study highlights how the domestic foundations of empire building have deteriorated and forced the imperial presidency to modify its approach, seeking diplomatic negotiations over new military interventions, specifically in the cases of Syria and Iran.

Imperial politics is viewed as a multi-sided power struggle between military and economic elites, Israel and the Zionist power configuration, overseas resistance movements and nationalist regimes, and the US public. The resolution of this power struggle is more than an academic question; it will determine whether the US will become a full blown police state, ruled by the pawns of a racist-colonial state engaged in endless wars or return to its roots as an independent democratic republic “free of foreign entanglements”.

The politics of empire. The US, Israel and the Middle East

by James Petras

ISBN: 978-0-9860731-0-6 $18.95 / pp. / 2014

BUY NOW EBOOK: $16.00

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Available in the US from Clarity Press, amazon.com, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Ingram and online booksellers

Available from Distributors in the USA, the UK/Europe, Middle East, Malaysia/Singapore

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March 13, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela: Who Are They and How Did They Die?

By Jake Johnston | CEPR Americas Blog | March 12, 2014

Since February 23, CEPR has been keeping track of those who have died during the last month of protests in Venezuela. Below is the most recent available information on the location, causes and status of investigations into the deaths. This list will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. As of March 13, the list contains 29 individuals; however in some cases press reports indicate that the death was not directly associated with the protests. Never the less, as they have often been reported as such, they are included below.

There are deaths on both sides of the political spectrum. In some cases, members of Venezuelan security forces have been implicated and subsequently arrested for their involvement. At least 10 individuals have reportedly been killed by crashing into barricades, from wires strung across streets by protesters and in some cases from having been shot trying to remove barricades. Three members of the National Guard have been killed.

–         Bassil Alejandro Da Costa, an opposition demonstrator was shot, reportedly in the head, and killed in Caracas during the opposition protest that took place on February 12.

–         Juan Montoya, a pro-government community activist, was reportedly shot in both the head and chest and died. Montoya’s body was found a short distance from the body of Da Costa. On February 26, the Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Diaz, announced that 8 officers from SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, had been arrested for their role in the killing of Da Costa and Montoya. As of March 11, 6 SEBIN officers remain in jail. President Maduro has also removed the head of SEBIN.

–         On February 12, Roberto Redman, another opposition demonstrator was also shot, reportedly in the head, and killed. The killing took place in a neighborhood in eastern Caracas. Witnesses attributed his death to armed civilians. There has been no update on the status of any investigation.

–         On February 18 José Ernesto Méndez, a 17-year-old student who was participating in a demonstration in the Sucre department, was hit by a truck and later died. The Attorney General stated that the driver of the truck has been apprehended and charged with homicide.

–         On the same day Genesis Carmona, a student and beauty queen was shot and killed in the state of Carabobo. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the she was shot from behind, potentially from within the group she was protesting with, though others contest that version of events. The government has pledged a full investigation. There have been no further updates on the status of the investigation.

–         On February 19, Julio Gonzalez, a member of the public ministry in Carabobo reportedly died after crashing his vehicle while attempting to avoid a roadblock put up by protesters.
–         On February 20, Arturo Alexis Martínez, the brother of a ruling party legislator, was reportedly shot in the chest as he attempted to clear a path for his car amidst the debris left by a barricade following an opposition protest in Lara state. Witnesses allege that the shot that killed him was fired from a nearby building. On March 6, the AG announced that an individual has been charged for their involvement in the death.

–         On February 20, Asdrúbal Rodríguez was reportedly arrested for attempting to steal a motorcycle and then was found dead the next day. The arrest and killing occurred in Chacao. Two members of the Chacao police have been arrested and remain in jail.

–         On the night of February 21, Elvis Rafael Durán De La Rosa was beheaded by a wire strung across the Rómulo Gallegos Avenue in Caracas while driving a moto. The wire had allegedly been put there by protesters who had set up a road block in the same location earlier that evening.

–         On February 21 that a 37-year-old woman named Delia Elena Lobo had died the previous evening in the city of Mérida in similar circumstances to De La Rosa. The woman was heading home on a motorbike and ran into barbed wire stretched across a street. Nobody has been arrested for the deaths of Lobo or De La Rosa. Authorities have accused retired general Angél Omar Vivas Perdomo of having encouraged protesters to put wires across streets and have ordered his detention.

–         On the evening of February 21, Jose Alejandro Márquez died due to injuries to the head suffered in clashes with the National Guard. Seven members of the National Guard are being investigated for the death.

–         On February 22nd, Geraldine Moreno, a 23-year-old protester who had been injured by bird shot during a protest in Carabobo state a few days earlier reportedly died from head injuries. There has been no update on the status of the investigation.

–         On February 23 in San Cristobal Danny Melgarejo, a local student, was stabbed to death. The mayor said that the killing was related to a robbery, and not the student’s participation in protests.

–         On February 24 Antonio José Valbuena Morales was shot and killed, reportedly while trying to remove barricades that had been set up by protesters.

–         On February 24 Wilmer Carballo was killed by a shot to the head in Sucre state. Reports suggest he was shot by individuals on motos. On February 25, the AG announced an investigation into the killing.

–         On February 24, Jimmy Vargas died after falling from a second story building. Press reports continue to state that he was killed “after being hit by a tear gas canister and falling from a balcony,” despite video evidence to the contrary.

–         On February 25, Eduardo Ramón Anzona Carmona died after crashing his moto into a barricade. The accident occurred in Valencia in the state of Carabobo

–         Also on February 25, in El Límon, Jhoan Gabriel Quintero Carrasco was shot and killed near a supermarket where looting was taking place.

–         Giovanny José Hernández Pantoja, a member of the GNB, was shot and killed in Valencia on February 28. News reports indicate he was removing a barricade when he was shot. At least three individuals have been detained for their alleged involvement.

–         On March 3 in Chacao, Deivis José Useche died after crashing his moto. Press reports indicate that a manhole cover had been removed during earlier protests, which caused the crash.

–         On Tuesday, March 4 Luis Gutiérrez Camargo crashed into a barricade and died in the state of Tachira.

–         On March 6, a National Guardsman, Acner López Lyon, was shot and killed during an altercation in Los Ruices, a neighborhood in Caracas. News reports indicate that the National Guard was removing a barricade that was blocking a main avenue.

–         In the same altercation that took the life of Lyon, a mototaxista, José Gregorio Amaris Castillo, was shot and killed. The AG announced an investigation into the deaths.

–         On March 7, Johan Alfonso Pineda Morales died after he lost control of his moto on an oil slick, allegedly intentionally created by protesters.

–         On the night of March 9, Giselle Rubilar Figueroa, a Chilean citizen, was reportedly shot and killed by protesters in Merida. The AG has announced an investigation.

–         On the night of March 10, a student protester, Daniel Tinoco was shot and killed in San Cristobal. It is unclear who was responsible, though press reports indicate that the killing occurred after a day of clashes between the National Guard which was trying to remove barricades in San Cristobal. The mayor indicated that it was armed civilians that shot Tinoco. The AG announced an investigation into the killing.

–         On March 12, university student Jesús Enrique Acosta was shot and killed in La Isabelica in the department of Carabobo. Family members told the press that Acosta was outside his house when armed civilians began firing. Reuters reports that “the state governor said the shot came from snipers among the protesters.”

–         On March 12, the Governor of Carabobo, Francisco Ameliach reported that a captain of the National Guard, Ramso Ernesto Bracho Bravo was shot and killed during an altercation in the municipality of Naguanagua.

–         Also on March 12 in La Isabelica, Guillermo Alfonso Sánchez was shot and killed. The circumstances remain unclear. The AG has announced an investigation into the three killings of March 12.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

The Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation has disappeared

The Occidental Observer | March 11, 2014

Editor’s Note: This article by Freeman shows that, despite the presence in the new Ukraine government of the Svoboda nationalists, its president, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (who has three ethnically Jewish grandparents)  is firmly affiliated with neocons, Western economic interests, and prominent figures associated with hostility toward Russia.

Second Editor’s Note, 3/12: The website for Open Ukraine (http://openukraine.org/ua) has reappeared but without the list of partners that so clearly show its sympathies with the neocons and Western NGOs and financial institutions.

By Freeman, translated from German by Michael Colhaze

yats

Since the 27th of February 2014 Arseniy Yatsenyuk is “prime minister” of the present and entirely illegal regime of Ukraine. As we have learned from the intercepted Nuland – Pyatt telephone conversation, he is the preferred candidate of Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland, which is the reason why the US State Department made him the top echelon of its coup.

Did you know that Mr. Yatsenyuk owns an organization called “Open Ukraine Foundation”? If you do, you might be surprised to learn that all traces of this foundation have been eradicated from the internet. The website of the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation (openukraine.org) and its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Open-Ukraine-Foundation) have simply disappeared. The Wikipedia entry still exists, but the links lead nowhere.

As we know, the Internet forgets nothing and therefore a screen-shot of the website is still on hand. And what do we see there? A list of the foundation’s partners, and looking at it, you may say with some awe that it is an exceptionally impressive collection of the usual suspects. Which, we strongly suspect, must be the reason why the foundation is now defunct and its tracks have been obliterated.

What follows is an extract from the list of partners:

–   Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation  (A Project of the German Marshall Fund)
–   Chatham House
–   NATO Information and Documentation Centre 
–   State Department of the United States of America
–   NED National Endowment for Democracy
–   Horizon Capital
–   Swedbank

With such partners, and in this present scenario, it is small wonder that the page has been deleted. Because it can be clearly seen who stands right behind Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the coup.

Let us start with the German Marshall Fund, whose Chairman is Guido Goldman. His father, Nahum Goldman, was co-founder of the World Jewish Congress, Chairman of the Jewish Agency and president of the World Zionist Organization. Guido studied at Harvard and one of his teachers was the former presidential security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Henry Kissinger later supervised Guido’s doctoral thesis. The money for the Fund has been approved by the former German finance minister Alex Möller. Who, on occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, funded the organization with 150 million German marks for the next 15 years,  ostensibly to promote relations between Europe and the U.S.

This context alone is revealing, since it cites some of the most virulent Russia Haters around.

But let us look at Chatham House. The Foundation, established in 1920, known until 2004 as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a private and world-leading British think tank based in London, whose members engage in study programs, working groups, roundtable conferences and seminars current issues and political events on an international level. The expertise and recommendations created there are circulated by the international members worldwide. Some key projects are funded and sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, NATO or the EU. In addition to the corporate members, consisting of 75 large corporations, plus investment banks, energy companies and 263 other companies, Chatham House currently has 2770 prominent personalities from 75 countries as members, all employed in business, diplomacy, science, politics and the media. A patron of Chatham House is Queen Elizabeth II.

This would sound like an absurd joke, were it not so truly awesome. Because now we understand clearly why the upheaval in Ukraine took place: the supreme fat-cats of the so-called World Elite wanted it to happen.

The NATO chiefs wanted the incorporation of Ukraine into this particular war club, so that missiles can be deployed even closer to Russia. In 2008 NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer paid a visit to Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Foundation.

The U.S. State Department has been instrumental in the coup, as already mentioned with regard to Victoria Nuland and her now famous injunction. Doling out massive funds, it determined which puppets could join the regime and which not. Whereby that goof Vitali Klitschko got the short straw, just as the abominable noodle Nuland wanted it to happen.

The NED or National Endowment for Democracy is an American foundation with the stated objective to promote democracy worldwide. It is a [neocon front group that] was established in 1983 by the U.S. Congress, and receives its annual funding from the U.S. federal budget. Thus money directly milked from the U.S. taxpayer is diverted for the illegal regime change in Ukraine and many other countries.

This backdrop is very revealing. When Hedge Funds and banks such as Horizon Capital and Swedbank are affiliated with Yatsenyuk’s foundation, it is clear that they are the vultures who are waiting to plunder Ukraine.

Saakashvili and Yatsenyuk at an Open Foundation Meeting

Saakashvili and Yatsenyuk at an Open Foundation Meeting

A good friend of Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Foundation is Mikheil Saakashvili, the puppet installed by Washington [see here and here], who was allowed to play the President of Georgia from 2004 to 2013. The latest news concerning his person seem to prove that he is also a murderer. According to the Georgian newspaper Asawal – Dasawali he has been involved in the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania of Georgia. The Prosecutor’s Office of Tbilisi has discovered proof of Saakashvili’s direct complicity, the newspaper writes, citing a source within the investigation authority where a secret recording with the audible voice of Saakashvili can be heard ordering: “Get the corpse out of the way and do everything as agreed.”

Yes, such a fine “partner” used to be a guest of honour in the now defunct Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation. Unusual is that even in the Google cache nothing about it can be found anymore.

Now we understand why Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been installed by Merkel and Co, the EU, the NATO and Washington as head of the Ukrainian “government.” He is simply the new puppet intended to implement their interests in Ukraine, but certainly not the interests of the Ukrainian people.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kiev snipers shooting from building controlled by Maidan forces – Ex-Ukraine security chief

RT | March 13, 2014

Former chief of Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.

Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine’s capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.

Furthermore the former security chief believes that Parubiy has been in contact with US Special Forces that could have coordinated the assault.

“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall. Maidan Commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building. Snipers and people with automatic weapons were ‘working’ from this building on February 20. They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and have, in fact, fled,” Yakimenko said in an interview with Russian television.

The police officers were chased by a group of rioters armed with various weapons and at that point, Yakimenko says snipers fired at pursuers themselves.

“When the first wave of shootings ended, many have witnessed 20 people leaving the building,” former chief says, noting that they were well-equipped and were carrying military style bag for carrying sniper and assault rifles with optical sights. Not only the law enforcers, but people from the opposition’s Freedom, Right Sector, Fatherland, and Klitschko’s UDAR party have also seen this, Yakimenko claims.

The former security head also said that according to the intelligence those snipers could be foreigners, including mercenaries from former Yugoslavia as well former Special Forces employees from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

Yakimenko claims that Parubiy was part of a group that was heavily influenced by the people associated with the US secret services. “These were the forces that carried out everything that they were told by their leadership – the United States,” Yakimenko explained, claiming that Maidan leaders practically lived in the US embassy.

According to Yakimenko, during the massacre the opposition leaders contacted him and asked him to deploy special force unit to scoop out the snipers from buildings in central Kiev, but Parubiy made sure that won’t happen.

“The Right Sector and Freedom Party have requested me to use the Alpha group to cleanse these buildings, stripping them from snipers,” Yakimenko said. According to him Ukrainian troops were ready to move in and eliminate the shooters.

“I was ready to do it, but in order to go inside Maidan I had to get the sanction from Parubiy. Otherwise the ‘self-defense’ would attack me in the back. Parubiy did not give such consent,” Yakimenko said noting that the Maidan leader had full authority over the access to weapons on Maidan, and not a single gun including a sniper rifle could get in or out of the square.

Aleksandr Yakimenko’s account supports previously voiced concerns over unknown snipers shooting both protesters and the police indiscriminately – who were the topic of the recently leaked phone conversation between EU’s Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

In a leaked phone conversation that took place February 26 Ashton and Paet discussed rumors that snipers were hired by some of the opposition leaders.

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation. “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

Almost 100 people were killed and another 900 injured during the violent standoff near Maidan Square in Kiev last month that forced president Yanukovich out of the country and installed a new government. Ukrainian self-proclaimed authorities maintain that the shooting was authorized by Yanukovich.

On Wednesday Moscow suggested setting up a probe to investigate the crimes perpetrated by extremist and armed elements of the opposition over the past three months. The proposal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also seeks to examine the legitimacy of the post-coup Ukrainian government.

Full interview with Aleksandr Yakimenko

March 13, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Scandal of billion dollar deals between Saudi Arabia and Veolia

Ard Kanaan News Agency | March 12, 2014

Veolia is a French company specialising in environmental work in the fields of water, recycling, energy and transportation. The company has recently had a lot of media coverage given its contribution to supporting Israeli settlements.

The company has been registered by international activists concerned with the Palestinian cause on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) list since 2005, “due to their immoral work serving the occupation in various areas in Palestine”.

Currently it is involved in a railway project in Jerusalem that links the illegal West Bank settlements and Jerusalem which is considered one of the occupation’s main means and an important step in the context of the Judaisation of Jerusalem project and the expansion of settlements in the city. It not only transports Israelis passing through, but also facilitates access between the new Israeli settlements and the settlers as a means of easing settlements and outlining a mechanism and infrastructure for its expansion. This is considered a violation of the Geneva Accords which prohibit the occupation from transporting its citizens to occupied territories, so this is not only a clear violation of Palestinian rights, but also a violation of international agreements made in this regard.

Veolia’s activity ranges between environment workshops, water and transportation, as it works through one of its subsidiaries (T.M. M.) and Tovlan Landfill, near Jericho, as a report by Corporate Watch Research Group, specialising in monitoring the work of international companies, stated the violations made by Veolia with regards to the management of the landfill. Veolia buries the waste of 21 settlements in the landfill near the Jordanian border, this has many health and environmental “side effects” on neighbouring Arab villages such as Fasayil and Abu Al `Ajaj, leading to the displacement of the residents of the latter, the population dropping to 200 residents from thousands in 1999, the year the landfill was established.

There are also those who leave their homes during the summer only to return in winter when the smell from the landfill is not as strong. The livestock, which is the main source of income for locals, also suffered big losses.

The residents of these villages are also deprived of electricity, while the residents in settlements have electricity and water at discounted rates in order to motivate them to live in settlements. The recycling of the waste in the landfill contributes to the provision of electric energy by means of renewable energy.

Who works in the landfill? Palestinians work in the landfill and they are deprived of any labour rights, as their wages are half the minimum wages set for Israeli workers and they are deprived of work and health insurance.

The company also has shares in the bus routes, such as route 109 and 110, which provide transportation for settlers on Highway 433 in the West Bank running through the settlements. The occupation enforces apartheid/segregation rules on highway 433, as Palestinians are not allowed to use the highway.

Veolia is also involved in facilitating Israeli exclusion operations, as well as facilitating the transfer of settlement waste, transporting it to Palestinian areas and causing many long-term health and geographic problems. This has encouraged the indirect expulsion of Palestinians, all of which has contributed to the process of racial segregation in transportation in those areas.

Similarly, it has recently provided water and sanitation services to many of the Israeli occupation’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including the Modi’in Ilit settlement located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the occupied Palestinian territories.

This means that three out of Veolia’s four subsidiaries – water, waste and transportation – actively work to support settlements.

Veolia’s activities are considered a flagrant violation of international law, specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

International law also prohibits Israel from using occupied land for its own benefit and, therefore, burying waste from the settlements in the occupied territories is a violation of United Nations Resolution 63/201 dated January 28, 2009, which:

“Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, damage, cause loss or depletion of, or endanger the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, with respect to the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

In addition to violating international law, Veolia’s acts violate the resolution of the Arab summit in Khartoum, in March 2006, which provides for the following:

The condemnation of the project aiming to link West Jerusalem to the occupied West Bank through occupied East Jerusalem and the stressing of the illegality of this project. It also calls on the two French companies [Alstom and Veolia] to immediately withdraw from the project and demands punitive measures be taken against them if they don’t comply. The Arab Summit also urged the French government to take the necessary measures in this respect to honour its obligations under international law.

To top this all off, Veolia’s activity in the occupied territories contradicts the company’s declared goals and strategies which aim to “reduce the negative environmental impacts of waste” and “help raise the citizens’ standard of living.”

It is clear that Veolia selectively applies these goals, as it only aims to raise the standard of living of the settlers, at the expense of the Palestinians and in violation of international treaties and the most basic human rights.

This company’s long history of racism and the oppression of the Palestinians’ rights was enough to convince the public opinion in different parts of the world to boycott it.

The campaign to reduce the company’s activity and completely boycott it was successful in impacting its work, which has suffered due to losses estimated at more than $12 billion over the past six years in order to prevent the renewal or signing of new contracts in many countries worldwide. These include Australia, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and finally England. In addition to this, a coalition of boroughs in south-west London refused to bid on the tender offered by Veolia for a £1 billion waste removal deal last April. In January 2009, Veolia lost a contract worth €3.5 billion Euros to run the metro in Stockholm.

In addition to the efforts made globally to boycott this company and reduce its activity, French company Alstom, a company working in partnership with Veolia on the Jerusalem railway project, linking Jerusalem and the settlements, lost the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project, which connects Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. This is in spite of the fact that the company had previously won the contract for the first phase. The value of the second phase contract is about $10 billion.

Since the end of 2008, the BDS National Committee, along with its partners, have made popular, official and media efforts in order to convince the Saudi authorities to exclude Alstom from the Haramain Railway deal due to its involvement in the Israeli occupation’s projects aiming to Judaise Jerusalem. Many letters and documents to this effect were sent to official parties in Saudi Arabia from the BDS Committee, as well as several official, popular, Palestinian, Islamic and international parties in the context of a coordinated campaign targeting this company.

Veolia in Saudi Arabia

Despite all of the information mentioned above, all the background information, business links, relations with the Israeli occupation and settlement operations, as well as its direct involvement in facilitating the expansion of settlements and the Judaisation of Jerusalem, and in spite of the boycott exercised by British and other organisations and governorates against Veolia, it has continued to operate and make outrageous profits in Saudi Arabia for years.

The company’s work in Saudi Arabia is narrowed down to the fields of water, sanitation and water desalination. It exists in Saudi Arabia through the Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Saudi Industries Ltd, with branches in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. Veolia also operates in Saudi Arabia under the Sidem Saudi Ltd, one of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Saudi Industries Ltd’s subsidiaries, which has branches in Jeddah, Khobar and Jubail. Sidem specialises in designing and building large desalination plants.

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Saudi Industries Ltd has landed many large contracts with the Saudi government in recent years. The two contracts worth noting are the desalination plant contract with the Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu, signed in 2007, and the management, operation and maintenance of the water and sanitation sector deal in the Saudi capital Riyadh, signed in 2008.

In 2007, Veolia signed a contract with the Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu to establish one of the largest water desalination plants in the world worth $945 million. One year before signing the deal, Saudi Arabia signed the Arab Summit resolution in Khartoum.

Furthermore, Veolia has landed 62 water desalination contracts in Saudi Arabia since 2007. In 2008, Veolia signed a large contract with the National Water Company to manage, operate and maintain the water and sanitation in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Veolia expects this deal to achieve a $60 million profit.

In December 2011, Veolia signed a contract with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to establish research centres in the Dhahran Techno Valley.

While Alstom – Veolia’s partner in the Judaisation of Jerusalem project and the Jerusalem railway project, connecting Jerusalem to the settlements – lost the second phase of the Haramain Railway project worth about $10 billion, Veolia (in full partnership with Alstom) is signing contracts worth billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia, despite its blatant violation of international law and the rights of the Palestinians.

Veolia has been working in Israel before it entered the Saudi market, and its involvement in settlements began very early on, before it made any deals with the Saudi government.

It is both embarrassing and astonishing that Veolia’s involvement in the settlements was not taken into account when it was awarded these huge business deals in Saudi Arabia and that the vast global BDS campaign against Alstom and Veolia in 2011 did not impact Veolia’s operations in Saudi Arabia, as the company signed an agreement with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in December of the same year.

It is also shameful that at a time when international companies and parties are taking a stance against this company for violating the most basic human rights in Palestine and its participation in the brutal Israeli occupation and settlement, the Saudi government is signing contracts with the same company in various business areas. This in a country which is supposedly a leader in the belief in Palestinian rights, as well as protecting such liberties and condemning all human rights violations during this serious Palestinian tragedy.

A company with such a shameful history of working to enhance Israeli settlements should not find a work environment that opens the doors to trading in a country like Saudi Arabia, which has a long history of supporting the Palestinian cause.

While Veolia is losing billions of dollars in contracts in Stockholm and London, it is signing a billion dollar deal in Jubail and making profits of up to $60 million dollars in Riyadh!

The least that is expected of Saudi Arabia is not to sign contracts with Veolia, to pressure the company and make it choose between carrying out its responsibilities in accordance with international law, stop supporting the settlements and violating the rights of the Palestinians or to get out of Saudi Arabia and cease all forms of business with it.

Translation by MEMO

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Al-Aqsa vs. Israel: The Lurking Danger Beneath

aqsa_mahfouz_turk

While the danger of Al-Aqsa Mosque collapsing is very real, it is a representation of the mentality that rules Israel. (Photo: Mahfouz Abu Turk)
By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | March 12, 2014

Something sinister is brewing around and below al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, and it has the hallmark of a familiar Israeli campaign to strip the Mosque of its Muslim Arab identity. This time around, however, the stakes are much higher.

The status of al-Aqsa mosque is unparalleled within the context of Muslim heritage in Palestine itself. It is also the third holiest Muslim shrine anywhere. But equally as important, it is a symbol of faith, resistance and defiance. Its story of struggle and perseverance goes hand in hand with the very modern Palestinian struggle for rights, freedom and identity. Praying at al-Aqsa at times seems like an impossible feat. Many Palestinians lost life or limbs simply trying to gain access to the mosque.

In a statement released on March 7, the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs said Israeli forces carried out 30 attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites during the month of February alone. Most of the attacks targeted Al-Aqsa itself. While the recurring violations at Al-Aqsa were led by Jewish settlers, according to the statement, they have done so under the watchful eye, protection and support of the Israeli police and army.

Most alarming about these attacks is their political context, which indicates that a great degree of coordination is underway between politicians, security forces and Jewish settlers.

In anticipation of a Palestinian backlash, on March 04, an Israeli court sentenced Islamic leader Sheikh Rade Saleh to eight months in prison for ‘incitement’. The Sheikh is the most outspoken Palestinian leader regarding the danger facing Al-Aqsa. Why silence Sheik Saleh now when the attacks against al-Aqsa are at an all time high?

It was on February 25, 1994, that US-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein stormed into the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) and opened fire. The aim was to kill as many Arabs as he could.

At that moment, nearly 800 Muslim worshipers were kneeling down during the dawn prayer in the holiest month of the Muslim Calendar; Ramadan. He killed up to 30 people and wounded over 120. Exactly 20 years later, the Israeli army stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim site, and opened fire. The timing was no accident.

Like the rest of the West Bank, Al-Khalil is facing the dual challenge of armed Jewish settlers and Israeli occupation soldiers; the latter enforcing the military occupation, while providing further protection to the settlers. The settlers, extremists from the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, often attack Palestinian residents of the town with complete impunity. Interestingly, many of Kiryat Arba settlers are Americans, as was Baruch Goldstein.

It was not enough that Israeli soldiers within the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque allowed Goldstein – armed with a Galil rifle and other weapons – access to the mosque, but they opened fire on worshipers as they tried to flee the scene. Israeli soldiers killed 24 more and injured others. Goldstein, now a hero in the eyes of many in Israel, is often blamed solely for the massacre in al-Khalil. But in fact, it was a mutual effort between Goldstein and the Israeli army.

This symbiotic relationship between the army and settlers, which dates back to the early days of the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, continues.

While Israeli bulldozers dig into Palestinian land during the day, leveling mounds of ground and destroying olive groves for settlement expansion, heavy machinery burrows beneath the Old City of al-Quds, Jerusalem, at night. The Israelis are looking for evidence of what they believe to be ancient Jewish temples, presumably destroyed in 586BC and AD70. To fulfil “prophecy”, Jewish extremists believe that a third temple must be built. But of course, there is the inconvenient fact that on that particular spot exists one of Islam’s holiest sites: The Noble Sanctuary, or al-Haram al-Sharif. It has been an exclusively Muslim prayer site for the last 1,300 years.

The Noble Sanctuary, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is the home of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The site has been under constant threat, attacks, acts of arson and military violence for nearly five decades. The few Muslim clergy – belonging to the Islamic Trust which manages the area, along with the custodianship of Jordan – are mindful of the ever-lurking Israeli threat that oftentimes turns deadly. It was no surprise that late Israeli leader Ariel Sharon chose that exact place to carry out his proactive ‘tour’ of al-Aqsa compound in 2000. Many unarmed Palestinians, mostly worshipers, died on that day. Thousands more were lost in the following months and years as the entirety of the occupied territories and Palestinian towns inside Israel exploded with unprecedented fury. Sharon was later elected Prime Minister of Israel.

That same dangerous combination – rightwing politicians allied with religious zealots – is at work once more. They are eying Al-Aqsa for annexation, the same way the Israeli government is laboring to permanently annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank, to preclude any future settlement with the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli Knesset (Parliament) chose the 20th anniversary of the Goldstein massacre of Palestinians in al-Khalil to begin a debate concerning the status of Al-Aqsa compound. Right-wingers – which constitute the bulk in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – want the Israeli government to enforce its ‘sovereignty’ over the Muslim site, which is administered by Jordan per the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty of 1994. Israeli MP Moshe Feiglin, is the man behind the move, but he is not alone. Feiglin is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, and has strong backing within the party, the government and the Knesset.

A major backer of Feiglin’s initiative is Miri Regev, also a far-right Likud member. Regev is demanding that the government establish separate prayer times for both Jews and Muslims in Al-Aqsa Compound. The model she wishes to duplicate is no other than the Ibrahimi Mosque. “We will reach a situation where the Temple Mount will be like the Cave of the Patriarchs, days for Jews and days for Muslims,” she said.

Of course, Regev omitted the fact that 20 years ago to the day, a Jewish extremist and Israeli troops killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians kneeling for prayer.

On the next day following the Israeli government debate, a thundering sound was heard around 3 AM in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan, located south of the Old City of Jerusalem. Residents heard the “sounds of heavy duty machines digging under their houses throughout the night,” Ma’an reported. Then, a large wall suddenly collapsed, while a few houses sustained damage. The Israeli underground network of tunnels is growing, as some of these tunnels connect Wadi Hilweh to the Western Wall to Al-Aqsa.

While the danger of Al-Aqsa Mosque collapsing is very real, it is a representation of the mentality that rules Israel: one of annexation and military occupation, with no regard whatsoever to Palestine’s holiest site, also revered by over 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London).

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abbas accuses Dahlan of assassinating key Palestinian figures

MEMO | March 13, 2014

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waged an unprecedented attack on Wednesday against ousted Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan, accusing him of assassinating several key Palestinian figures, including the late President Yasser Arafat.

Official Palestinian TV broadcast a recorded speech by Abbas to the Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting in Ramallah, in which he claimed that an investigation conducted by Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, “revealed that Dahlan gave orders to murder six Palestinian figures: Mohammed Abu Shaaban, Asaad Saftawi, Hisham Makki, Khalil Ezzabin, Naim Abu Saif and Khalid Mahmood Shehdah”.

The Palestinian president added that: “the real question now is who killed Yasser Arafat? Although this is not direct proof, it is evidence that deserves to be investigated. Who delivered the poison to kill Yasser Arafat?”

Abbas devoted more than half of his two-hour-long speech to talk about Dahlan, who was believed to be Abbas’s rival before the Fatah movement dismissed him. He accused Dahlan of organising public demonstrations against Arafat, saying that he only apologised later on to cover up for his possible involvement in the late president’s assassination.

Dahlan, who fled in 2011 to the United Arab Emirates where he currently resides, was unavailable to comment on the accusations.

Following Abbas’s remarks, the Hamas-led government in Gaza called for the Palestinians to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the president’s accusations against Dahlan, including his involvement in the assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, the co-founder of the military wing of the Islamic Resistance movement Hamas 12 years ago.

Abbas also accused Dahlan of assassinating Sheikh Shehadeh on 22 July 2002, when the Israeli air force bombed his house in the Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza City with a ton of explosives, killing him, his wife, daughter and escort Zaher Nassar, as well as ten neighbours, and wounding dozens while a large number of houses in the area were destroyed.

The media adviser to the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza, Taher Al-Nono, issued a statement published by Quds Press insisting that a national investigation into the Palestinian Authority’s security services, including those officials who have been involved in security coordination with Israel, has to be conducted to prosecute anybody involved in committing crimes against the Palestinian people. Al-Nono pointed out that President Abbas’s accusations against Dahlan regarding his involvement in the assassination of Shehadeh are serious, adding that their timing is also dangerous.

Al-Nono explained that: “If the accusations are true, and they are more likely to be true, then what forced Abbas to remain silent all this time? Abbas commissioned Dahlan back then for senior leadership posts and ministerial positions, where he served as Minister of Security Affairs and was a top security official under Abbas’s presidency. Why did Abbas give him these positions while he was fully aware of his betrayals and subservience to Israel?”

He continued: “Did Abbas remember this information suddenly after all these years have passed to announce it to the public only now? How can we be sure that Abbas did not know Dahlan or any other security coordination leaders were involved in the killing of Palestinian leaders?”

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Renewed Gaza rocket fire after overnight Israeli raids

Ma’an – March 12, 2014

BETHLEHEM – Dozens of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave.

The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the operation, which it has named “Breaking the Silence.”

The group said that it had launched 90 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, saying: “The response has begun to the crimes of the occupation, the latest of which was the killing of three members” of the group on Tuesday.

An Israeli military source said that eight rockets had fallen in residential areas, causing property damage but without resulting in any injuries.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told an Israeli television channel that there was no option other than completely re-occupying the Gaza Strip, arguing that after two wide-scale military operations “Israeli towns and cities” are still under fire from the Gaza Strip.

The residents of southern Israeli towns and cities cannot remain under the the threat of “terrorist” organizations, he added.

An Israeli source said that crews had found the fragments of nearly 57 rockets. The source also said that the Iron Dome missile-defense system had intercepted three rockets.

According to Israeli reports, rockets landed in open areas near the town of Sderot and near residential areas.

A senior Israeli security source told AFP that 50 rockets had been launched toward Israel and that the rockets had not ceased, but that there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Warning sirens sounded in Israeli towns and cities near the border.

An Israeli officer told Israeli army radio that “we haven’t seen such a barrage (of rockets) in the last two years.”

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that “damage” had been caused but not injuries, and that “police units” were searching “open areas.”

A day earlier, an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said.

The three resistance fighters were killed by the airstrike in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.

The al-Quds Brigades said at the time that the militants were affiliated to the group.

“They were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area,” the statement said.

The Israeli army said in a statement that “terrorists affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the southern Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell at IDF forces.”

“An IAF aircraft responded immediately in order to prevent further attacks on Israeli civilians and targeted the terrorist squad. Direct hits were confirmed, the army statement said.

Also Tuesday morning, an Israeli drone fell in the area of the attack.

The airstrikes came just hours after Palestinian security sources said a man died after Israeli soldiers fired at him while he was driving near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

The Israeli army also killed two Palestinians in the West Bank on Monday.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed 18-year-old Saji Darwish near Ramallah late Monday, after he allegedly threw stones at Israeli vehicles.

Earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian-Jordanian judge at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment